Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, six!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Five!

We continue now with Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura.

Today’s entry in our ongoing series is a relatively short one, but it necessarily contains spoilers. Spoilers begin after the break.

Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, six!)”

Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, five!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Four!

We now continue with the Days of Hate begun on Monday. I sent my old and decrepit computer in for maintenance, and it’s no longer overheating on me, so I think they managed to get my issues fixed … but now all my image files have been renamed for some reason, so I can’t find my screenshots …

Well, anyway, we’re back with more of Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura.

Number 7: Freakin’ Tomoyo.

Seriously. Freakin’ Tomoyo.

I had an argument with myself over where to place Tomoyo on this list. Tomoyo is a psychotic little freak who belongs in a nut house, but after some consideration, I concluded that some of the things I want to talk about might not make sense if I don’t discuss her ahead of time. Besides that, I realized I don’t really hate Tomoyo herself; I just hate what Clamp did to her.

Freak.

Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, five!)”

Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, four!)

The Ten Days of Hate: Day Three!

Two days ago, we kicked off the Ten Days of Hate with a discussion of Cardcaptor Sakura, the hugely popular magical girl franchise. Then we followed that up with further hate.

Now we continue with more of Ten Things I Hate about Cardcaptor Sakura:

Number 8: Lame Magic.

Supposedly, Clow Reed, the creator of the Clow Cards, was the bestest wizard ever, and he supposedly encapsulated more-or-less all of his magic in the cards that Sakura steadily collects across the series. But there’s a problem—

The cards are hella lame.

Looks like Sakura isn’t the only one collecting a lot of crap.

Continue reading “Why I Hate ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ (and you can, four!)”

Art: Featuring Gosick

Ah, Gosick. This was one of my favorite anime at one point, and I was really sad when Crunchyroll lost the rights and took it down. I’m glad I got to watch the whole series before that happened. I reviewed the show once at my old site.

The premise of Gosick is simple: what if you took Sherlock Holmes and Watson, and replaced them with Taiga and Ryuji from Toradora?

The result is pretty poor as a Gothic mystery series, but not bad as far as anime teen rom-com goes. It’s basically a poor man’s Toradora with the mood of Rozen Maiden. But it came from Studio BONES, so the production values are quite high, and the atmospherics and personable characters make up for the lousy murder mysteries. It flunks in the research department, featuring automatic elevators and phones with “disconnect” signals … in the 1920s (not to mention southern Europeans who think black hair is weird). It also wreaks inexcusable havoc on the history of World War II.

But, hey, I love the protagonists. This and Toradora were the two major inspirations for the relationship between Jake and Dana in Jake and the Dynamo.

‘Shugo Chara!’

Surprisingly sophisticated but unfortunately creepy.

Shugo Chara!, written and illustrated by Peach-Pit. Translated by Satsuki Yamashita. 12 vols. Kodansha Comics (New York): 2013 (2006). Rated T (ages 13+).

Shugo Chara!Shugo Chara! Doki, and Shugo Chara! Party!, directed by Kinji Yasuta. Satelight and TV Tokyo, 2007-2010. 127 episodes of 25 minutes (approx. 53 hours). Not rated. Available on Crunchyroll.

The Background

In the midst of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Kunihiko Ikuhara’s magnum opus, there are a number of screwball gag episodes dedicated to the side character Nanami, a spoiled rich girl who laughs inappropriately, a requisite character in shoujo anime. In one of the most fascinating of these gag episodes, Nanami awakens one morning to find an Easter egg in her bed. Convinced that she must have laid it, she first tries, from embarrassment, to hide its existence, but on account of some misunderstood conversations, she eventually comes to the conclusion that egg-laying is normal for girls. In keeping with the coming-of-age theme of magical girl shows in general and Utena in particular, the egg becomes over the course of the episode a multivalent symbol by turns representing puberty, menstruation, childbirth, and child-rearing.

This one-off episode apparently became the inspiration for another whole magical girl franchise, Shugo Chara!, by Banri Sendo and Shibuko Ebara, the two-woman manga-ka team known collectively as Peach-Pit. They got their start with works aimed primarily at a male audience: the little-known harem comedy Prism Palette, the raunchy magical girlfriend series DearS (which is sort of like Chobits with more bondage), and an action series called Zombie-Loan. In the U.S., probably their most famous title is Rozen Maiden, an unusually classy harem series that’s something like a cross between Pinocchio and Highlander with a veneer of Gothic horror. It’s spawned Internet memes and a modest cult following.

The History

Shugo Chara! was Peach-Pit’s 2006 foray into shoujo manga, appearing in Nakayoshi, a magazine aimed primarily at girls aged nine to fifteen. This same magazine has hosted such titles as Sailor Moon, Sugar Sugar Rune, Saint Tail, and various adaptations of the Pretty Cure franchise. So it’s a magical girl powerhouse. Continue reading “‘Shugo Chara!’”

Major Old-School Anime Titles Hit Blu-Ray

Format war can have a silver lining. As Blu-ray continues to replace DVDs, it seems some old anime series have come back to the market this year. I haven’t been keeping a super-close eye on this like a fanatic, so when I say “back to,” I might be speaking loosely in some cases, but still.

I only regret that, due to life circumstances, my current anime budget is zero. If it weren’t, I’d snatch these up. So, just to be clear, this is a list of stuff I want, not stuff I’m reviewing. I believe strongly in compensating artists for their work, so I don’t do bootlegs, and that has the unfortunate effect of putting a lot of gaps in my first-hand anime knowledge. I’m passing on the news of these titles because a few of these are works I tried to acquire legitimately in the past, but failed to do so. For that reason, their re-release is notable.

This is a handful of arbitrarily selected “want to see” titles based solely on my personal taste. (NOTE: You may need to turn off Adblock to see the images.)

Continue reading “Major Old-School Anime Titles Hit Blu-Ray”

‘Made in Abyss’ Gets TV Anime

This escaped my attention back in January, but the web comic Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi is slated to get a TV anime adaptation, directed by Masayuki Kojima and animated by Kinema Citrus.

I stumbled upon Made in Abyss back in December, when I raved about the artwork.

And though it escaped my attention at the time, it was only a few days later that Crunchyroll reported news of an impending anime adaptation. I take this as further proof that I really live in a solipsistic universe that bends to my will, and you are all figments of my imagination. Bwa ha ha.

I hope Crunchy’s report is indicative of their plans to fish for the rights to stream a sub. At present, Made in Abyss is not legally available in English, though it was originally produced as a web series and can be read online in Japanese. I for one am quite curious about the series because the story sounds charming and the art is gorgeous.

And Tsukushi-sensei’s characters all look so darn huggable.

Is ‘Sailor Moon R: The Movie’ Too Gay?

Featured image: Totally a real screenshot from the film and not some crazy cosplaying by GeshaPetrovich.

Sailor Moon R: The Movie, directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. Screenplay by Sukehiro Tomita. Starring Kotono Mitsuishi, Aya Hisakawa, and Michie Tomizawa. Toei Animation, 1993. In limited release from Viz Media, 2017. Dubbed. Runtime 78 minutes. Rated PG.

We’ll get to the meaning of the deliberately provocative clickbait title of this review in a moment. But first, let’s cover the preliminaries.

So, I just saw Sailor Moon R: The Movie, the first North American theatrical release of a Sailor Moon film, courtesy of Viz Media, which now owns the North American distribution rights. The film originally came out in 1993 and runs a mere hour and eighteen minutes. I hope some other showings around the country are more successful than the one I attended, or Viz Media is going to go broke, and I don’t want them to go broke until they finish releasing the series. Continue reading “Is ‘Sailor Moon R: The Movie’ Too Gay?”

Sequel to ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ Is Coming … Prepare Yourselves

Featured image: “Cardcaptor Sakura Fanart” by Daikazoku63

Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the biggest titles in the magical girl genre. It was the first foray into mahou shoujo manga by the unbelievably prolific four-woman team Clamp, which produced it from 1996 to 2000. Its anime adaptation, which began airing in 1998, is one of the few TV cartoons that can hold up in terms of technical quality more than a decade after its run. The anime adds a great deal to the story; some of it is padding, but a lot of it is real improvement. A sliced, diced, and dubbed version was released in English under the title of Cardcaptors.

For reasons I’ll explain in a post I was working on for today but didn’t get finished, I don’t care much for Cardcaptor Sakura. Nonetheless, I must announce that after all this time, Clamp is adding a third arc to the story, the “Clear Card Arc,” currently underway. The first collected volume appeared in Japan last month. I don’t believe any English translation has appeared as of yet.

An anime adaptation is slated to begin in January of 2018. Plan is to bring back director Morio Asaka and round up much of the original voice cast. The Cardcaptor Sakura anime had very good production values, so bringing back the old-timers rather than getting fresh blood seems to be a good move. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The original story featured its heroine in fourth and fifth grade, gradually powering up as she collects the “Clow Cards,” each of which contains a magic spell. The sequel now has her in middle school.

While many fans are excited, I’m scared. What is Clamp going to do to that poor girl now? She barely escaped all those perverts last time. I’m especially worried about Tomoyo, her obsessive best friend who at first seems to be an innocent little ten-year-old girl until Clamp casually drops the bombshell that she’s a monomaniacal lesbian stalker with a costume fetish and a penchant for voyeurism. Is this going to be the story arc where she hides a camera in Sakura’s bathroom or something?

‘Sailor Moon R: The Movie’ Update

I have successfully purchased my theater ticket for the first American theatrical release of a Sailor Moon film, which runs under the impressive title of Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R: The Movie: The Promise of the Rose: Really Long Name for a Cartoon: It Just Keep Going: Holy Friggin’ Cow: How Many Colons Is That?

Okay, I’m kidding. I think they’re just calling it Sailor Moon R: The Movie for this release, but “The Promise of the Rose” was slapped onto the American release the first time around. This theatrical presentation will also include the first-ever American showing of the short film Make Up! Sailor Soldier, which according to Infogalactic is basically a recap episode for anyone who might be seeing the movie without having watched any of the TV series first.

Except instead of “soldier,” I think the official translation is “guardian” now, which I kind of hate. Admittedly, “sailor soldier” sounds dumb in English, but still.

And while we’re on the subject, it is ironic that, according to Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.,* sailors view soldiers with contempt and even use “soldier” as an insult meaning “lazy good-for-nothing.” To mimic the sailors’ slangy speech, Dana renders the word soldier as “soger.” According to him, the captain of a sailing vessel might even punish an especially lazy crewman by making him march up and down on the deck, holding a marlin spike as if it were a rifle. Such a humiliation is sufficient to break some men.

… And that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about. Anyway, speaking of laziness, it’s kind of an epic journey to the theater from where I am, but barring some unforeseen contingency, I should be able to make it. I will put in every effort to do so, as I wouldn’t want to be seen as lazy like a soldier. Or sailor. Or sailor soldier. Or whatever.

It will no doubt be a great thrill at last to see a magical girl in the theater … and for that matter, to hear the new dub for the first time.  I’ve been watching Sailor Moon in the Japanese with subtitles. I don’t really like to indulge in the perpetual play-fighting of otaku over sub vs. dub (if anyone really cares that much, let him take the time to learn Japanese), but switching from one to the other will no doubt be jarring.

I’m really looking forward to this. It is supposed to be the best of the Sailor Moon movies.

*And no, Dana Volt is not named after Richard Henry Dana.